‘The Incredibles’ serves as magnum opus for Pixar and superhero movies alike
As opposed to every other movie in its catalog, “The Incredibles” feels like the one Pixar movie that was written completely for adults. Pixar’s realistic take on superheroes and mature themes scattered throughout make this movie have so much more weight than any other Pixar movie.
“The Incredibles” has a more realistic idea of how superheroes would function in the real world than any Marvel or DC movie. Take “Man of Steel,” for example. At the end of the movie, Superman trashes his city, Metropolis, in a fight with his enemy, most likely killing hundreds of innocent people in the process and costing the city millions of dollars in damages. And while he may get some bad press in the sequel to this movie, he is never truly held accountable for the destruction he caused. However, in “The Incredibles” Mr. Incredible, in an attempted act of heroism, prevents an attempted suicide. As a result, he is sued, which causes a chain reaction for all other active heroes to be held accountable for their damages. Subsequently, the U.S. government stepped in and put all heroes into hiding. Which one sounds not only more realistic but also more interesting?
“The Incredibles” is not only a great superhero story, but it is also a dissection of superheroes as a whole. It takes the modern-day mythology of superheroes and truly asks a question: what if these people actually existed? Mr. Incredible is not a shining beacon of Truth, Justice and the American Way. He is a flawed human who makes mistakes and, in turn, is forced to suppress his true identity, but also creates his biggest rival.
On top of deconstructing the superhero genre as a whole, the movie also balances so many other important ideas and themes. The movie tackles the shady business of insurance companies, the significance of being true to oneself and most importantly, the importance of family through the characterization of Mr. Incredible. Mr. Incredible is like most American fathers. He despises his job and, at home, and is too distracted to spend any real time with his family. He’s constantly wishing he could return to the glory days and, as a result, misses his family growing up right before him. Once he gets the chance to relive those glory days, it causes him to make irrational decisions. He doesn't begin to appreciate his family until they're almost stripped from his life.
The entire sage of events can be interpreted as a mid-life crisis. Mr. Incredible really is one of Pixar’s most well-developed protagonists, and his character arc is phenomenal.
While Mr. Incredible may be the protagonist, the rest of the Parr family steal the show in the second half. Elastigirl isn’t like Bob. She’s adjusted to civilian life and wishes that they could just be a family. But she is by no means passive. Once she suspects that Bob is in trouble, she takes matters into her own hands. She’s the perfect example of the right way to write a strong female character.
Syndrome’s smirky personality and amazing motivation make him one of Pixar’s greatest antagonists. He’s the result of Mr. Incredible’s foolish pride and, as a result, despises him. Violet has a small but significant character arc of her own. She learns to accept that being super is a part of her identity and, as a result, she gains confidence in both her abilities and everyday life. Dash is able to perfectly ride the line of annoying little brother and witty comic relief. Edna’s hilarious voice and fast-paced dialogue make her easily the funniest character in the movie and, while Frozone doesn’t play a large role, but his suave personality adds so much to the scenes he’s in. Also, it doesn’t hurt that he has one of the most heavily quoted lines in any movie ever.
But what is a superhero movie without great action? Mr. and Mrs. Incredible’s sneaking around Syndrome’s base gives the movie a secret agent vibe. And when the entire family combines their powers together to take down the group of soldiers, it’s poetry in motion. But the film’s highlight has to be Dash’s chase scene. It’s so high octane and energetic; it automatically boosts the audience’s adrenaline.
“The Incredibles” is one of Pixar’s greatest works. Every single main character is so well developed that it’s impossible not to be glued to the screen. Combine this with a contemplative deconstruction of superheroes and amazing action and you have one of the greatest animated superhero movies ever made.
Rating: Hard 4